Briefly describe the work you do.
I scavenge for retro looking junk at scrap metal and salvage yards for material to create sci-fi sculptures.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I spent much of my childhood watching many sci-fi and fantasy movies and reading lots of Marvel and DC comics.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I spend a few hours a week hunting for ingredients and many hours disassembling, cleaning, polishing and sorting parts. The work I create is dictated by the parts I have on hand. A piece usually begins with finding the personality in an object, one that looks like a head or an arm … and I then build something based on that one found object. It’s like putting together a puzzle, laying out many parts to see which, I think, look best together, then cutting, drilling and grinding until reaching a natural-looking fit.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I try to create something that makes people smile … something that brings out a child-like wonder.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
I truly love creating and spend as much time as possible doing it. I find if I don’t spend a few hours a day involved in some aspect of this then I get antsy. It truly is calming.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I started out making robots, but this past year I began making creatures, spaceships and hot rods and find that just as enjoyable. It takes a while to adjust, but it really is the same in that I am still trying to figure out how to connect parts together that were never meant to be put together.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
I’ve worked for sculptor George Rickey, who lived to be 95, ceramicist Beatrice Wood, who lived to be 105, and various other artists. It was obvious to me that they loved what they were doing and it kept them vibrant and young. They motivated me to do the same.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
Set designer or props creator. It’s kind of like what I am doing, just on a bigger scale.
Tal Avitzur was raised in Pennsylvania in a family where the sciences were emphasized more than the arts. He moved to California to attend college in Santa Barbara. While in school Tal lived in a large communal artist compound with a constant stream of artists coming and going. After earning a Masters in math Tal worked for the US Navy in Washington, DC determining the best collection of spare parts that carriers should keep stocked in order to maximize readiness of planes. However the call of Santa Barbara was too great. So Tal returned and began teaching part-time, which left ample time for artistic pursuits. Home improvement projects took him to scrap metal yards, which sealed his fate.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.